Officer David Rigney touched many lives
By Shaun Tilghman
News Editor – North Manchester News-Journal
Just over a week has passed since the accident that claimed the life of North Manchester Police Officer David Rigney, and in the wake of tragedy, communities across Wabash County have joined together not only in mourning the loss, but also in celebrating his life.
The 39-year-old LaFontaine native was off-duty when the crash occurred last Monday afternoon. Rigney was heading south on State Road 15 when his SUV fishtailed and crossed into the northbound lane, where it was struck by a school bus, before returning to the southbound lane and being struck by another vehicle – he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgt. Brian Enyeart, a veteran of the North Manchester Police Department, said the loss was devastating on many different levels.
“People outside of law enforcement don’t understand the bond that law enforcement officers have – it’s more than just as coworkers or even friends, we truly are ‘brothers in blue’,” Enyeart said. “There is a lot of stuff that is easier to talk about with other officers than with other people, because they just don’t understand. With Dave, you always knew if you needed anything you could call him and he would be there to help you out.”
by Gary Andrews
Not only did the Wabash Lady Apache basketball team open their 2014-15 season with an impressive 60-44 win over Mississinewa Friday; they got to be part of history as senior Claire Cromer went off for 42 points to set the Wabash single game scoring record.
The Lady Apaches dominated right from the start, jumping out to an 11-0 lead and leading 14-4 after the end of the quarter. Claire Cromer had all 14 points for Wabash.
Mississinewa would cut the Wabash lead to 16-10 early in the second quarter before Shelby Stone buried two shots from behind the arch to build the lead to 22-10. The Indians again cut the lead to single digits before Cromer drained back-to-back three’s, then hit four straight free throws to increase the lead to 31-18. At 31-22 Cromer would hit a shot before the buzzer as Wabash led 33-22 at the half.
Kristin Cromer and Sarah Puckett would get in on the scoring action in the third while Claire Cromer kept rolling as the Lady Apaches built their lead to 45-25 before leading 45-26 after three.
Claire Cromer would hit a three to get the Wabash scoring going in the fourth as sister Kristin hit two free throws as Wabash rolled to a 60-44 win.
Claire Cromer led the way with 42 points. Shelby Stone and Kristin Cromer added 6 points each, Sarah Puckett 4, Katie McCauley 2.
By Bill Barrows
Periodically, I have the privilege to witness heartwarming and amazing things that happen in the course of my daily activities in youth sports at the Wabash County YMCA. This week, I watched as a young man took a huge step forward on a long road back to regaining his health.
Jace Randel’s parents, Jason and Amanda, registered him to play 4th & 5th grade tackle football in August. Jace expected to play with a number of his classmates on the Cowboys team this fall while learning some life lessons along the way. He had no idea the roller coaster ride he had in front of him.
”On Aug. 20 (ironically, the same day as the first football practice) Jace began not feeling well. I took him in to his pediatrician after a few days of stomach pain. He ordered blood work, just to be sure it wasn’t an appendicitis. The blood work came back abnormal,” explained Amanda.
After consulting with their pediatrician, the Randels prepared for a trip to Riley Hospital.
“The Pediatrician explained to us that Jace's blood work had come back abnormal, and after consulting with a few Riley Oncologists, they thought Jace had leukemia.” Amanda continued, “We were being sent to Riley to run more blood work and prepare him for a bone marrow biopsy.” Jason & Amanda told their son what this meant; Jace was crushed.
“I told him that we were NOT putting our faith and trust into one test. We would be putting our faith in God who, we KNEW, could do anything!!” She explained, “What a calming affect that can have on a person, to know WHO is in control and WHO is all powerful,”
The blood work at Riley came back inconclusive. Jace received a platelets transfusion in order to perform the biopsy to prevent excessive bleeding. He had an allergic reaction to the platelet transfusion. Instantly, he began to break out in hives and his throat started swelling. After giving him large doses of Benadryl, he was finally able to sleep. The biopsy came back negative. Several other tests were run, for conditions such as; mono, autoimmune markers, and vitamin deficiencies, and all came back normal. Normal was a relative term. Jace wasn’t getting any worse, but was also wasn’t getting any better either.
by Gary Andrews
The Southwood VolleyKnights had one last game scheduled for the year Saturday and it was the state championship. The Lady Knights had won nine straight games to win the sectional, then defeated Clinton Central 3-0 for the regional title. Last Saturday Southwood won the very tough Bremen semi state by topping Adams Central 3-1 and Hammond Bishop Noll 3-2 for the semi state title. Saturday at Ball State the VolleyKnights had the task of taking on defending state champion Providence for the state title.
Southwood, the 2A public school state champion hung tough, but the power hitting of Providence ended up being too much as the VolleyKnights fell 17-25, 14-25, 18-25.
Providence got off to a 10-3 start in game one before the Knights shook off the championship jitters and started to go to work. Emilie Harnish would get a kill and Bailey Lundmark a block during a 5-0 run to close the gap to 10-8. Providence would then score 10 of the next 14 points to open a 24-15 lead before two Sami White tips kept the game alive, but one last Pioneer kill ended game one 17-25.
Southwood jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start game two with Sami White serving. Kaitlyn Murphy had a kill with White scoring on an ace and a tip. Bailey Hobbs would get a kill as the Knights extended their lead to 8-3 before the Pioneer’s got hot. Providence would score 6 of the next 7 points to tie the game at 9 before a White tip and an Emilie Harnish ace made it 11-9. With Southwood up 12-10 the sleeping giant awoke as Providence went on a 10-1 run to grab a 20-13 lead on their way to the 25-14 final.
by Eric Stearley
Personal trainer Jakae Francis, owner of Wabash’s F.I.T. personal training, got the surprise of a lifetime when it was revealed that two of her most successful clients set her up for an appearance on The Steve Harvey Show.
“It was just so unbelievable,” said Francis. “It’s still so surreal that this even happened. I feel like I had tunnel vision. I don’t remember a lot of what I said or what Josh said to me.”
Josh Steele was the mastermind behind the surprise. A client for the past year and a half, he shed nearly half his body weight after deciding to get serious about losing weight two years ago.
“My starting weight was 579 pounds,” said Steele. “Basically, to sum it all up, I hated life. Just getting up in the morning, just doing normal activities that normal people take for granted like tying shoes, going up and down stairs, getting in vehicles. That kind of stuff, it was all a struggle for me every single day. I basically gave up all hopes of my dreams and passion for the future.”
Inspired by weight loss shows on television, Steele tried out for Biggest Loser and nearly made it onto Extreme Weight Loss, but ultimately came up short. Two years ago this week, Steele decided he wasn’t going to let it stop him, that he was going to make big changes whether he was on television or not. After six months of dietary changes and religious trips to the gym, Francis took an interest in him and decided to take him on as a free client, something she had done once before.
“Josh had lost 100 pounds before he even came to me, so I had seen the commitment in him before taking him on,” said Francis. “He was on the right track. Basically what I gave was, I taught him what he was capable of doing that he didn’t realize he was. My job is to take people out of their comfort zone.”
Along with Jakae’s training, Josh had support through a Facebook page he set up called “The Steele Project.” This allowed people from across the country to track his weight loss and watch a real person with real responsibilities succeed in losing an enormous amount of weight. Today, Steele is down to 304 pounds. He’s still a few pounds off his target weight of 280, but is now able to do everything he used to, even fitting into many of the same clothes he wore in high school, more than a decade ago.
“I’m 6’9”, so I’m never going to be 190 pounds or whatever,” said Steele. “I do basically everything now that I did in high school, and actually, I’m in better shape now than I was then. I really have no limits to what I can do now.”
After taking people out of their comfort zone during workouts, Francis was taken out of her own comfort zone when she was asked to appear on national television as a guest on Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show. The producers told her that they discovered her through her business’ Facebook page, F.I.T. Personal Training. They told her that she would be one of four personal trainers featured on a fitness-themed episode. Each of the trainers would be interviewed individually and then engage in some sort of personal training competition, teaching a stay-at-home mom something new that they could do without equipment or a gym membership. The winner of the competition would receive a prize.
“I’m thinking, oh my gosh, I cancelled clients, I have so many people that know I’m coming up here, I’ve gotta win this prize!” said Francis.
She said that they had her convinced, but she was still a little suspicious, because she couldn’t figure out why a nationally broadcasted talk show would choose a personal trainer from the small town of Wabash.
“She was texting me the day before like, ‘If you have anything to do with this, I’m gonna kill you,’” said Steele. “She was freaking out because she didn’t have a clue what they were going to talk about.”
Nonetheless, she took the stage for her individual interview with Harvey, and the true reason for her appearance was quickly revealed.
“Steve made a light joke, because he’s very funny,” said Francis, “and after I answered a few questions and talked for, it was very short, maybe three or four minutes, and he turned to me and said, ‘Well Jakae, you’re actually not on the show to talk about your job or your passion,’ and instantly, I started crying.”
Harvey went on to tell her that there were two people that wanted to thank her for something that she had done for them. She looked around the audience searching for her clients, and onto the stage walked Josh and his mother Mindy, who has lost 80 pounds while training with Francis and her son. She knew it would be Josh and Mindy as soon as Harvey revealed that it was, in fact, a thank you show and not a training competition.
“I think I was so shocked and so overwhelmed at what was happening that basically, when they were sitting there, all I did was cry,” said Francis.
She doesn’t remember much of what she said after the reveal, but she’s looking forward to the broadcast, which she will be viewing with Josh and Mindy at Harvey Hinklemeyers on Wednesday.
Steele is still working on trimming a few more pounds, but two related endeavors are equally as important to him right now. This week, he will take the American College of Sports Medicine test to become certified as a personal trainer. He hopes to extend the opportunity that Francis gave him to client of his own by offering free personal training to a selected individual. In addition, he is working with Francis to train a local 13-year-old who hopes to follow in his footsteps.
“That’s why I put my story out there so publicly,” said Steele. “I don’t if you’ve watched The Biggest Loser or anything like that, but you always hear people say, ‘If I can do it, anyone can do it.’ Well, technically that’s not true, because you’re not in that perfect world. I’m the normal person that has worked 50-60 hours a week and still found the time to work out. So that’s why I put my story out there. I want to let people know that anybody can do it. You just have to believe in yourself.”
In Francis’s mind, she should be the one thanking Steele.
“Josh, in training him, his story has brought me so much, and I didn’t ever intend for that to be the case,” said Francis. “His story has helped me and my business so much that I owe him more than he has ever thought he owed me. Every time I turn around, he’s thanking me, and I’m all the time telling him, ‘Josh, we’re even. You have done so much for me.’”
To watch the big reveal and catch the reactions as they are broadcasted across the country, tune in to NBC tomorrow afternoon. The Steve Harvey Show airs at 2 p.m. on Fort Wayne’s WISE-TV. For more information about Josh, check out The Steele Project on Facebook.